DNR 103

Certain segments of our society have once again begun to spread the “Death panels” lie as a way to start the new year. And in response, it appears that the government has caved to this horseshit after initially trying to do the right thing. Again.

Thanks, liars. I am so sick of going to call after call after call where people who should have discussed death never discussed death. People and their families who for whatever reason did not plan their end-of-life options are having the worst day of their lives, and somehow you liars, by flat out lying about an important part of dying and thereby discouraging people from the absolutely necessary end-of-life planning, are contributing to making that day even worse, if that’s even possible.

Anyway, my dear sane and honest people, please spread the word: “Death panels” were PolitiFact’s 2009 Lie of the Year.

Previously:

6 thoughts on “DNR 103”

  1. I have a question: DNRs are great, but what if a person falls over on the street, and doesn’t happen to have that paperwork with them? Would having “DNR” or “no resus” or something similar tattooed on their sternum constitute a legally valid refusal?

    1. what i’m talking about is generally directed at people who really should have DNRs in the first place, if that’s what they desire, but they generally wouldn’t be out on the street. but even if they were out on the street, they should be wise enough to keep copies of their paperwork with them, get a DNR medallion, etc.

      i did read about a DNR tattoo once. i can see the base hospital here agreeing to abiding by it. obviously, a “traditional” DNR makes things much easier, but we should also be sensible about “alternative” forms of DNR, including the word of an obviously caring family member on behalf of an obviously terminal pt. this is where EMS 1.0 needs to catch up. whether or not this is viable in this political climate, i don’t know.

      1. Thank you for your response! I appreciate it.

        I did get your point about how those who need end of life planning discussions may not get them now, no thanks to the “death panels” lies. I think DNRs are a good thing, we should *all* have something in writing about what our final wishes are, no matter what age we may be, because we just never know what could happen. It doesn’t take much for a person to find him- or herself on life support with the family not knowing for sure whether to keep mom or dad going by any means possible, or whether to just let them die in peace. (And yes, I know I’m preaching to the choir here – you see it all the time.) My husband and kids know my wishes, but just in case something happens when I’m alone and away from home – that’s why I was wondering about the DNR tattoo. I’m still relatively young and more-or-less healthy, but I’ve buried too many friends to think that it couldn’t happen to me too. Death scares me a whole hell of a lot less than the prospect of being kept alive artificially!

        My 82-y.o. father finally signed a DNR – not that it’ll do him any good if he keels over at a restaurant because the assisted living facility has a copy of his DNR, but he has his *old* address still on his driver’s license. Fat lot of good the Directive will do him if nobody knows where he lives or where the paperwork is! I live halfway across the country, he’d be resuss’d and intubated long before the authorities could figure out how to contact me about his condition! So unless he goes in his sleep, I may well find myself having to authorize pulling the plug someday….

        1. the good news is that more providers are exercising common sense when it comes to matters regarding death and resuscitation.

          in your father’s case, i would suggest DNR medallions. they’re not recognized everywhere, but it’s worth looking into. besides, if i saw one, even if it’s not officially recognized, i would personally do everything i could to honor it. hopefully there are like-minded providers out there.

          some starting points:

          http://caringadvocates.org/dnr/

          http://www.emsa.ca.gov/personnel/DNR_faq.asp (especially #11)

  2. Obviously, all people of all ages, but especially the seniors, should have conversations about end-of-life options and give their “informed” consent to
    DNR’s that express their “individual” choices under existing federal law that does protect the rights of individuals or their legal surrogates to make these “individual” choices about the end of their lives.

    Obviously, these conversations are not held and we need an initiative in the law that requires patients and doctors to have these conversations when patients first seek medical treatment for serious conditions and when doctors first plan the treatment of the serious conditions for their patients. .

    It should be pointed out that the current federal law does not require hospital patients to initiate DNRs but it does require hospitals to inform patients about their rights under State law to make “end-of-life” choices in the form of a living will or a consent to a DNR that can then be placed in the hospital chart. If patients don’t consent to a DNR or initiate a DNR, the hospitals cannot discriminate against these patients and have the legal duty to try to resuscitate the patients.

    The crux of the problem is that our health care delivery is tied to profits and we have to be careful that DNR’s are not used indiscriminately and without “informed” consent against the best interests of the elderly to protect the profits of those who use the the provisions of the law, on one hand, to treat the elderly aggresively (who are a high percentage of their product) for profits but who may want to then trim the high costs of the treatment of the elderly to protect profits for the health care industry.

    This is a problem for both political parties who have to convince the elderly American people that DNR’s are in their best interests — when, of course, they can be misused and misapplied, and may NOT always be in the best interests of the elderly patient. .

    It may be that the “powers that be” will solve the problem by changing the law to require citizens of Medicare age, or those who qualify for Medicare, to initiate DNR’s that will be a prerequisite to their eligibility for Medicare and a permanent part of their Medicare profile. The education of the Medicare-age patients as to end-of-life options would have to be fair and balanced and not “skewed” to protect profits –a problem, perhaps?

    These DNR’s, of course, to be constitutional would also have to be revokable for the patient in hospitals and nursing homes in order to protect the “individual” rights promised under our constitution.

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